White - Fortified

1860 Henriques & Henriques Madeira Boal Special Reserve Grand Old Vintage


  • Portugal
  • Madeira

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Community Tasting Note

  • sweetstuff wrote: 98 points

    December 4, 2007 - TN: Henriques & Henriques Special Reserve Madeira Grand Old Boal Vintage 1860, first bottled 1927 and re-bottled 1955. $180/1 pt and 9 floz at Arrow Wine Co; Centerville, Ohio, August, 2007. From a bottling for The Hammer Co; Cleveland, OH. Bottle number 340 out of 353 bottles (actual numbers reversed in error on bottle). There was at least one other bottling of this vintage of about 1500 bottles for an Australian importer as well, according to auction records.

    Contains approx. 1 1/4" regular straight-sided (not T-shaped) cork, which came out in two clean pieces. Double-decanted, since it was due to be served in an hour or so. Very little sediment.

    Poured at a dinner with Barbara and myself for Ed O’Keefe and Sean O’Keefe of Chateau Grand Traverse, and Brian Ulbrich of Left Foot Charley’s, at Stella’s Restaurant, Traverse City, MI, both wineries of the Old Mission Peninsula, November 19,2007.

    Tawny, transparent yellow-green.

    Powerful, salty, tangy lime, and lacquery, with roasted walnuts and a hint of beluga caviar, vanilla, woodsmoke, sweaty saddle and baked cherry pastry.

    Very firm acidity and balancing sweetness; woody with just a hint of earthiness and sweatiness on the intense, almost endless finish.

    Still quite stable to flavor and scent five days after opening; same is true at 10 days. 98/100.

    This is an exquisite but very sparse vintage, about 97 percent of the usual harvest having been destroyed by oidium (powdery mildew). This vintage and previous ones were marked by starvation among the vineyard workers, and, although the remedy for the fungus was already discovered (Bordeaux copper sulfate mixture), this was just in time for the attack of the phylloxera. The vineyards have truly never quite recovered. This extremely rare and perhaps even unique 147-year old pre-phylloxera bottle shows the 21st century what a tragedy all this was. A wonderful but humbling and sorrowful experience. (Notes from Alex Liddell's book Madiera; Faber Books on Wine, 1998). By the way, a search of Cellar Tracker shows that there is at least one bottle of this stuff out there in someone's cellar, or at least there WAS one.

    Photos can be viewed at http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q91/rieslingrat/IMG_0779.jpg and http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q91/rieslingrat/IMG_0776.jpg

    In June, 2015 I gave a sip out of this bottle to Gene Rolf and myself. Even with only a half-ounce or so left it was in great condition and quite recognizable for what it was.

    2 people found this helpful 7,312 views


  • GeorgeKroner commented:

    6/18/15, 8:16 PM - I see this was posted a long time ago, but we found a bottle of this exact wine in the cellar of our 95 year old mother. It could possibly be the last bottle that you were speaking of. the label is not in perfect shape but enough to see part of the stripe and the front quick clearly. It was purchased by my father probably in the 1960's. Does anyone know what the value of this bottle might be today?

  • sweetstuff commented:

    6/18/15, 8:50 PM - You might want to take pictures of your bottle (front, back, all labels, capsule, level of wine in bottle if showing) to send to Madiera experts. I know one of the most knowledgeable and objective Madeira experts in the country, Roy Hersh of the For the Love of Port website, who has deep knowledge of Madiera and other Portuguese wines and travels to all important regions several times a year. He is not in the business of selling wine, but of providing information.

    Depending on exact identity (which can be difficult to establish in an old bottle with damaged labels) and to some extent storage conditions and condition of closures, this wine could be worth as much as $350 to $500, allowing for the conditions you described. How was the bottle stored, exactly, and under what temperature and humidity conditions? Do you see signs of old or current leakage?

    You may reach me at rieslingrat@aol.com, if you so desire.

  • sweetstuff commented:

    6/18/15, 8:54 PM - By the way, you might have seen that the cost of the excellent bottle I purchased in 2007, eight years ago, was $180 US. At the time I remember thinking of it as an excellent and even unusually good value. I'll look on some auction sites to see if info is posted there.

  • sweetstuff commented:

    6/23/15, 1:46 PM - No current auction movement on this rarity. I remember seeing one auctioned a few years back in Australia, but the price is irrelevant to the current market, being way too low. Interesting to know that this was imported by Hammer Co; Cleveland, Ohio. So we know two markets. Do you have the marketing information on yours?

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